to meet Central America leaders about child migrant wave
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[June 16, 2014]
By Jeff Mason
RANCHO MIRAGE Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Vice
President Joe Biden will go to Guatemala on Friday to meet Central
American leaders about the influx of unaccompanied minors illegally
entering the United States, senior administration officials said on
Biden is adding the stop to an already scheduled trip to Brazil,
Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Biden will meet the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador as well
as a senior government official from Honduras to follow up on the
Obama administration's efforts to discourage parents in those
countries from sending their children on dangerous trips to the
Between October and May, more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors,
mostly from Central America, have crossed into the United States,
nearly double the number in the previous 12 months, U.S. Homeland
Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a news conference in Washington
The U.S. government is making available facilities, including three
military bases, to house the children.
Johnson made clear that the children would not qualify to stay in
the United States as part of immigration reform efforts before the
U.S. Congress and said those apprehended at the border would be
priorities for removal.
U.S. officials said Biden would reiterate that message in an effort
to discourage parents from putting their children in the hands of
"It's not worth subjecting children to a perilous journey when at
the end of the day there's no light at the end of the tunnel," one
official told reporters on a conference call.
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Biden would also talk about ways that the United States can enhance
its support for the affected countries. Violence and a lack of
economic opportunity were contributing largely to the problem, the
Biden was likely to address the issue of Iraq publicly in the coming
days, an official said, indicating that would happen during the
trip. He did not give further details.
President Barack Obama is expected to decide soon whether to
authorize U.S. air strikes to stem an insurgency in the country.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Jim Loney and Dan Grebler)
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